New Releases: Take Me to Tarzana (2020) - Reviewed



Maceo Greenberg's millennial response to Office Space is a hyper-parody of office culture mixed with a post-Weinstein deconstruction of office politics. Take Me to Tarzana blends workplace satire, dark comedic undertones, and a chilling refutation of the social media age to create a hilarious caricature of the world as it stands today.  Featuring a wonderfully understated trio of performances, faux-matte visuals, and a blistering script that skewers its targets without remorse, this is the first genuine comedy of the year. 

Two employees at a tech firm discover that their data, and all of their customer's, is being sold to the highest bidder.  Together with a freewheeling hipster shaman, the team decides to fight back, ultimately leading them to Tarzana, the CEO's jungle themed pleasure house of sex, drugs, and Facebook nightmares.  Greenberg's script starts slow, building a familiar environment filled with every expected stereotype, and yet, there is a wholesomeness to the principals: decent, struggling people who are enslaved by the economics of American reality.  This instantly endears, without any heavy monologues or action.  They are a reflection of the viewer.  

Andrew Creer and The Love Witch's Samantha Robinson star as Miles and Jane, the two crusaders.  Their chemistry is perfectly organic.  It is messy, awkward, and smile inducing at every turn.  They are joined by Mean Girl's Jonathan Bennett as Jamison, AKA Jay-Mo.  Bennett steals the show with childlike wonder and touching dedication to his friends.  He is nearly outshined by Owen Harn's Gonzo interpretation of Zuckerberg, Georgio.  Clad in a loin cloth, gyrating, and toting a .44 Mag, Harn dominates the final act with his bizarre, but impossible to look away from antics.  This is the heart of the film.  The normality of hard working, average joes versus the alien-like influences of unthinkable wealth.  The patriarchy is alive and well in Greenberg's cosmos, and yet, even the wealthy can be beaten.  

Terrance Stewart's cinematography combines with Kelly Fallon's set decoration to create an immersive, almost Rockwellian illusion of the cosmetic niceties of the workplace that are often obliterated by tyrants and madmen. The result is a kooky, nonchalant approach to dangerous subject matter that works in a vacuum, while simultaneously exposing what is already known in a more practical, mundane fashion and this is the charm.  

Now available for digital rental, Take Me to Tarzana is a light, zany take on horrific material that does not disservice its subject matter.  Instead, it homes in with precision on the issues that continue to affect the workplace and other areas of society with charm and wit, creating a memorable, if a tad silly, parable about the demons of capitalism and the plight of those who have finally had enough.  

--Kyle Jonathan